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Dead or Alive was an instant hit on the PlayStation but the game never made it to the U.S. for the Saturn. This time around Sega fans get to experience Dead or Alive 2 first as the game makes its first U.S. appearance on the Dreamcast. Thanks to the game being originally developed for the Dreamcast-friendly Naomi Arcade board, Tecmo had no problem keeping the game "Arcade perfect." Dead or Alive 2 runs at 60 frames per second during every fighting sequence. However, the frame rate does drop to 30fps during cinematic sequences that take place between battles in Story mode. This is a result of the game using two different game engines, one for the game itself and one for the cinematic sequences.
Dead or Alive 2 features semi-realistic fighting much in the same way as Virtua Fighter 3tb. You won't find weapons or fireballs here, just hand-to-hand combat. Modes of play include Story, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Sparring, Versus, and Tag Battle. For fans of the fighting genre most of the modes should be self-explanatory. Story mode is where one player takes one of the selectable characters through battles with six of the characters not selected until they reach the final boss and win the game. Time Attack allows users to see how fast they can complete each fight. Survival pits fighters against one character after another to see how many in a row they can defeat without losing. Power-ups can be obtained in Survival mode when an enemy is knocked out or when a follow-up is launched on a downed opponent. Team Battle has gameplayers choose a team of fighters to fight another group of fighters with. The objective is to defeat each enemy fighter before each member of your team is defeated. Sparring is a practice mode where gamers can learn the moves of each character. Versus is a standard one-on-one fight against the computer or a friend.
Tag Battle is a mode that is not found in the original Arcade version of Dead or Alive 2. This mode can be played in a variety of ways. One is for a single-player to control two characters and go against two computer-controlled or human-controlled characters. Another is for two players to each control one character on the same team and to go against two-computer-controlled opponents. A third option is for two players to each control one pair of fighters. The fourth is for two players to be on one team and for a third player to control the second team. Finally, the fifth way to play is for four players to pair off in teams of two with each player controlling one character. When tagging in and out players will be able to perform combinations together for added damage to their opponent.
At the start of the game there are a total of 12 characters featured and a final boss that will not be unveiled until you reach the end of the game in Story mode. There is Ryu Hayabusa, a female martial artist who first appeared in the Tecmo classic Ninja Gaiden; Helena, a french opera singer; and Bass, a fighter who looks a lot like wrestler Hollywood Hogan. Some of the others include: Leon, Kasumi, Ayane, Jann-Lee, Zack, Ein, Tina, Lei-Fang, and Gen-Fu.
The fighters will do battle in a total of nine different arenas: The City, The Cathedral, The Elevator, The Opera House, The Wind Towers, The Arctic Plains, The Japanese Garden, The Generator Room, and another version of The City. Fighting locations are multi-tiered allowing players to throw each other off of various heights, as well as through some objects such as windows. Locations also feature danger zones, something that appeared in the original Dead or Alive. Danger zones are areas of a location that cause massive damage to a fighter when they knocked down on top of them. ~ Jonathan Sutyak, All Game Guide